In the following sentence:

The house was painted last weekend, it ..... painted for years.

should I use:

A) hasn't been, or
B) hadn't been?

This is confusing. My reasoning is as follows: Hadn’t been is used to express the earlier of two events but there is only one event, namely, the painting, so why use it and not hasn't been to give the meaning?

  • 1
    "Hadn't been" refers to the past; ie. before the house was painted last weekend. "Hasn't been" would refer to the present and so would only be appropriate if the house had not been repainted recently. Apr 13, 2019 at 22:43
  • 2
    If it hasn't been painted for years, how could it have been painted last week?
    – Hot Licks
    Apr 14, 2019 at 0:44

1 Answer 1


“Hadn't been” is the correct answer.

If you were speaking about the situation now, you would use "hasn't been.”

My bicycle hasn't been ridden for many years.

If you were speaking about the situation at a particular time in the past, referring to the entirety of time before that time, you would use "hadn't been.”

When my cousin visited last week, my bicycle hadn't been ridden for many years.

(A reader would assume from the use of "hadn't been" that the arrival of your cousin led to the bicycle being ridden.)

The more recent event is the painting of the house that took place last weekend. The earlier event is the painting years before.

Incidentally, I think your sentence should actually be two sentences, with a period after "weekend.”

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